The first staff-person I spoke with this month was Shannon Fortenbery, who has been working at the Co-op as the Mercantile Buyer for a month and a half. For her pick this month Shannon chose the Killington Hiker Socks by Maggie’s Organics. She said that one of her favorite things on a cold rainy fall day is a warm pair of socks. The Killington Hikers are exceptionally warm and cozy, they work great with boots, and are generally perfect whether you are wearing them around the house, or out in the elements. Shannon reports that although they are very thick, they are also breathable.
Maggie’s Organics sprung out of an experiment that involved adding cotton to the corn crop rotation for an organic Tortilla Chip company that wanted to improve the quality of their corn. The experiment worked, and the founders inadvertently found themselves in possession of an entire crop of organic cotton, and no venue in which to sell it. They soon began producing clothing with this cotton, and in 1992 Maggie’s Organics was founded.
Maggie’s now has warehouses in North Carolina and Michigan, and it works with farming cooperatives in Nicaragua, Peru, and Argentina to source the raw materials that make up their products. They guarantee their farmers a market, and their customers’ consistent quality and supply (Maggie's Organics, 2016). Today, Maggie’s is the oldest surviving organic apparel company in the United States, and it has been practicing the concept of “fair-trade” production since before it was a recognized term. Their website features a page called “behind the label” where you can select a product and find out the details of where the materials are sourced from, and how the fiber is processed, spun, knitted, and finished. The Killington socks are made from Argentinian wool that is spun in a fiber mill outside of Boston, and then Knit and finished in the Maggie’s North Carolina factory.
The second staff-person I spoke with this month was Geoff Nelson. He has worked at the Co-op for two years as Meat Staff. His pick this month is the Moscow Food Co-op’s own gluten free scones. Geoff particularly likes the pumpkin spice flavor (which is seasonal, and should be featured soon). He says the bakery prepares some of his absolute favorite offerings in the Co-op, and that he loves being able to get fresh home-made quality baked goods any day and any time. Geoff particularly likes the scones because they are not too sweet, they have a nice balance of spices, and are a quick breakfast that is actually satisfying. In addition to the pumpkin spice, Geoff also likes the blueberry and hazelnut chocolate chip flavors.
To find out a little more about the co-op’s scones, I spoke with one of their bakers who told me that they are one of the few products that are made every day and are also a staple product produced by the Moscow Food Co-op Bakery. Muscovites clearly like their scones, because the bakery usually makes six rounds of eight per day (48 scones), but on peak business days, that amount is often tripled. The scones are made from a dry mix that is prepared by the Co-op bakery, and which has been perfected by many talented bakers who have worked at the Co-op over the years. Bakers create the mix several times throughout each week, and one bucket of mix makes three batches of scones. If you have yet to give this treat a try, definitely consider as soon as the pumpkin spice flavor makes an appearance.